Microsoft has announced the opening of two new offices for its African Development Center (ADC) in Nairobi, Kenya, and Lagos, Nigeria. This comes after three years of successful operation in both countries.
According to Microsoft, the Nairobi ADC will also host a new research institute, the Microsoft Africa Research Institute (MARI), which is the first on the continent.
“Based on the great feedback we have received from engineering leads working with teams in Nigeria, we are definitely going to hire more engineering talent. We will continue to focus on student and community engagements, as well as investments in Microsoft programs, that will help us build a diverse team of talented men and women,” said “Based on the great feedback we have received from engineering leads working with teams in Nigeria, we are definitely going to hire more engineering talent. We will continue to focus on student and community engagements, as well as investments in Microsoft programs, that will help us build a diverse team of talented men and women.” said Joy Chik, Corporate Vice President of the Identity and Network Access engineering team at Microsoft, and executive sponsor of the Africa Development Center.
Modern state-of-the-art facility in Kenya
In Kenya, the ADC has relocated to its own offices in Nairobi. The ADC is now based at Dunhill Towers along Waiyaki Way in its new modern state-of-the-art facility, the first of its kind serving the East Afrikan region. The facility will house the engineering, design, research, and innovation teams, as well as the Microsoft Garage, an incubation hub launched as part of the ongoing efforts to scale tech innovation in the continent.
The Garage is structured as a freeform workspace where Microsoft employees, interns, schools, and community groups can find the tools and training they need to launch products and learn skills. Also in attendance at the announcement and launch of the Nairobi ADC was Kenya's president, Uhuru Kenyatta.
“As a premier centre of research and development for Microsoft, we all remain confident that you – together with our young men and women – will build a local world class talent and create innovative technological solutions that will yield global positive impacts. As technology takes centre stage in the global economy and as the way we conduct business evolves before our very own eyes, tonight we are again shattering yet another glass ceiling and once again cementing Kenya’s place as Africa’s leading technology powerhouse,” said President Kenyatta.
Microsoft Africa Research Institute
Afrika is often the continent that least benefits from research grants in order to advance research and development into technology in general. It is hoped that the Microsoft Africa Research Institute (MARI) will go a long way towards changing a part of this and contributing knowledge from Afrika to the development of digital technologies.
MARI will collaborate closely with Microsoft East Africa and the ADC to forge strategic alliances and links with local academia to boost the country’s and region’s research capabilities in the tech sphere, with three focus areas on health, work, and society.
“Kenya is leading the way in the transformation of work. At MARI our mission is to understand, build and deploy innovative cloud and AI technologies which not only address core opportunities in Africa and help solve local challenges at scale, but which also contribute to creating a more productive future of work, health and society globally," said Dr. Jacki O’Neill, the founding director of MARI.
— By Tefo Mohapi